Did You Know

Observations of Ceres, the largest known asteroid, by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have revealed that the object may contain pure water beneath its surface. Scientists estimate that if Ceres were composed of 25 per cent water, it may have more water than all the fresh water on Earth. However, unlike the water on Earth, water on Ceres would be in the form of water ice and be located in the mantle. This asteroid is almost round, suggesting it may have an interior with a rocky inner core and a thin, dusty outer crust.

Recent ultraviolet observations by spacecraft have revealed the existence of hydroxide water vapour near the north pole of Ceres. Images of Ceres taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004 showed eleven recognisable surface features, the nature of which is currently unknown.

Figure 8.11 Internal structure of Ceres.

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